Ask the Lord to give you a compassionate heart when you are feeling unwelcoming.
You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. —Exodus 22:21 (nrsv)
We all sit in the same places at the same time with the same people every week in church. Each person, couple, and family stakes out territory at a careful distance from the rest.
One Sunday, five minutes late, a young couple with a baby walked in. It was like an alarm had gone off: stranger alert! While our pastor graciously welcomed them, I rolled my eyes, silently ticking off their transgressions: late; disruptive; the baby was already crying; and they sat right next to our oldest member, crawling over her when she refused to surrender her aisle seat.
Then I saw the hurt and embarrassment on the wife’s face as she glanced at her husband. Why did we come here? she seemed to ask. I felt my own face flush with hurt and embarrassment. But not for them.
Jesus, forgive me when I am unwelcoming. Teach me compassion and hospitality.
Written by Marci Alborghetti
Digging Deeper: Acts 28:2; Rom12:13; 1 Pt 4:9